Clean chimneys, key to preventing a chimney fire


MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Colder temperatures bring an increase in chimney fires, as more people light their fireplaces. However fires can be prevented by making sure your chimney is clean.

"Because if you burn wood the by product of wood is creosote," said Bob Baker, owner of Safety First Chimney Sweep. "It's a flamable material that comes in three stages and once you get enough creosote in the chimney and enough heat comes through it, it will ignite and burn."

To prevent this, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends chimneys get inspected annually and cleaned as needed depending on how much wood is burned.

"All chimneys are meant to withstand 1000 degrees, chimney fires burn at 2000 degrees or hotter so you can have a chimney fire and do no damage or you can have a chimney fire and take your house down," said Baker.

As a chimney sweeper Baker says he's seen both sides, helping people prevent a fire from happening in their home, or giving mandatory re-inspections to allow a fireplace to burn again. He says the preventative measure is worth the money.

"The most expensive investment you have is your house!" said Baker. "If you can't spend $149 to have it swept $55 to have it inspected then I think your priorities are wrong."

Baker also recommends you don't burn green wood but seasoned wood, cut and split for one year, and you have a cap on your chimney to make sure nothing else gets in.

If you haven't used your fireplace in a while, you also want to take a flashlight and make sure the damper is open so when you do light a fire, the smoke can be let out.

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